READING, PA (July 9, 2022) – In a battle for third place in USL League Two’s Mid-Atlantic Division, Reading United A.C. (4-4-5) were upended by visiting Real Central New Jersey (5-6-2) by a 2-1 final. Despite being outshot by Reading 15-9, RCNJ never trailed in the match, getting goals from Stephen Duncan and Conlan Paventi. Reading’s lone goal came late in the first half off a penalty dispatched by Alex Hajj.
Real Central New Jersey got on the scoreboard in the game’s 9th minute. After winning a corner kick, Sergio Aguinaga lofted a good ball into the Reading penalty area. Defender Stephen Duncan slipped away from his defender and headed the ball past United goalkeeper Russell Shealy to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
United were able to pull even in the game’s 37th minute. Talla Faye was slipped through on goal but was cut down in the penalty area by a clumsy tackle from behind by RCNJ defender Cole Sotack. Forward Alex Hajj stepped up to the spot and hammered his shot down the middle. RCNJ goalkeeper Eric Wnorowski did get a glove to the ball but was unable to keep Hajj’s effort from squirting over the goal line to tie the game at 1-1.
Despite creating a majority of chances in a back and forth second half, Reading would find themselves trailing again in the 70th minute. Real Central New Jersey launched their attack from the own half with a patient build-up. Midfielder Hale Lombard, spotting the run of forward Conlan Paventi, struck a ball over the top of the Reading defense from the midfield stripe. Paventi collected the ball, shrugged off his defender and finished past Shealy to push RCNJ to a 2-1 lead.
Though pushing hard through the game’s final 20 minutes, Reading could not find an equalizing goal. The win allowed RCNJ to leapfrog United and into third place thanks to a better goal difference.
Reading United will wrap up the 2022 USL League Two campaign at Alvernia University Stadium when they host local rivals Lehigh Valley United on Saturday, July 16th. Game day tickets are available for purchase at readingunitedac.com.